Sep 8, 2017  JOHN T. WARD

The service will use two E-Tuks, electric versions of gasoline-powered
tuk-tuks popular in Asia and elsewhere  / Scooter Dudes

Visitors to Red Bank may have a jaunty, environmentally conscious and free
means of getting around town as early as a next week, when a new shuttle
service hopes to begin operations.

The month-old Scooter Dudes, based out of the Galleria at Red Bank, will use
two electric versions of tuk-tuks, or motorized three-wheelers popular in
southeast Asia and Africa, owner Marc Feaster tells redbankgreen.

The six-passenger vehicles will trace a circuit that that includes stops at
the Galleria and several locations downtown, as well as Riverside Gardens
Park, Marine Park and the two major performance venues the Count Basie
Theatre and the Two River Theater, said Feaster, a hedge fund executive who
decided to start his own tuk-tuk operation after riding in one in Oxford,

Feaster said he expects the expenses of the business to be more than offset
by advertising and sponsorships, as with similar businesses in Avon and

Councilman Mike Whelan said he’d been researching local trolleys for about a
year when Feaster, who lives in Shrewsbury, approached the borough as his
first locale in which to operate.

“It’s a great opportunity for us, at no cost to the borough,” said Whelan,
who’s enthused about the ability of users to broaden their pre- and
post-theater dining and nightlife options. “If it takes off, all the

The operation of the trolley is expected to be the subject of a resolution
up for a vote at next Wednesday’s semimonthly council meeting, when a 90-day
trial period will be authorized, Whelan said.

It was not clear why the operation requires borough authorization, however,
given that the vehicles conform to motor vehicle laws and are offering a
service at no charge. Borough Attorney Greg Cannon could not be reached for
comment, and Clerk Pam Borghi said she had not yet received the proposed
resolution Friday morning.

Police Chief Darren McConnell told redbankgreen he participated in meetings
with Feaster, Whelan, Cannon and DPU Director Cliff Whelan, primarily to
acquire information about the vehicles and provide guidance on compliance
with local laws.

The vehicles are registered with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission as
low-speed vehicles, meaning they’re restricted to streets with speed limits
of 25-miles-per-hour or lower, though Scooter Dudes can seek a waiver from
Monmouth County to travel on its roads with limits up to 30 mph, McConnell

“It can cross highways, but we want to keep it off Riverside Avenue (Route
35), just to be safe,” he said.

The tuk-tuks won’t be allowed to double-park or cause other traffic
obstructions, but they can drop off and pick up passengers in loading zones
and some parking-prohibited spots as long as there’s no safety hazard, he

Feaster said he’s ready to start as soon as the town gives him the green

The service will operate Thursdays through Sundays, said Feaster. The E-Tuks
come with heated seats and enclosable sides, so he plans to run them even in
January and February to determine the viability of business in cold weather,
he said.
[© 2017]

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